Media does not Influence Public Opinion

Although it is quite easy to say that the media has an affect on what we think, and some even blame the media for leading the general public in a direction, this is not true.  The media’s job is to report and inform the public of what is going on, not lead the charge.  Although some media outlets and spokespersons do influence the way some people think, such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the majority of the media does not influence what people think, in fact, just the opposite.  The media simply relays stories that it sees and the general consensus of public opinion that it sees.

However, almost all media outlets have some bias or slant.  To say that CNN or Fox News gives fair and equal balance to all sides of the stories is wrong. Everyone has some sort of a bias and it shows up whether they want it to or not.  This is more obvious in some places than others, but it does exist everywhere.  Generally, the people who listen to or read articles from say Fox are more conservative, so it is easy to make the mistake that the media leads people to certain political views.  This assumption is an easy mistake to make, but it is the other way around.  People with liberal leanings don’t watch Fox usually, and Conservative people don’t watch Liberal news shows. People’s political views are influenced by their background growing up, not the news shows or papers that they read.  The media does not lead the public, the public leads the media.

It is a very easy mistake to assume that the media leads public opinion, but in most cases, this is not true.  There are a few extremists who follow every word that is spouted by a talk show host, but the actual amount of this kind of people is blown out of proportion by their enemies to make them seem like more of a threat.  However, it seems to be the case that the majority of Americans are free thinking individuals who make up their mind for themselves and do not aimlessly follow everything spouted by a radio personality.  Although it appears at first view that the media does influence public opinion, for the majority of people, this is not true, or at least not to the extent that most people think.